Hailey Van Lith talks budding stardom, Kobe Bryant’s influence in interview with WNBA All-Star Breanna Stewart

Cashmere product Hailey Van Lith joined Seattle Storm forward and among the basketball world’s most accomplished current stars Breanna Stewart’s interview series “Around the Block” live on Instagram Monday evening to talk about Van Lith’s budding basketball stardom and the influence of the late Kobe Bryant.

Van Lith, who is at Louisville starting her college basketball career, developed a bond with Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gigi (13), who was also budding basketball star. The Bryants visited Cashmere and watched a game in early January, just weeks before the father and daughter were killed in a helicopter crash.

Van Lith told Stewart she Bryant’s impact on her every day, and that she especially hears his advice when in high-pressure situations.

Bryant’s birthday was Sunday, Aug. 23.

Stewart is an Olympic Gold medalist, four-time NCAA Champion at UConn, where she was three-time consensus National Player of the Year in college before becoming a WNBA champion and MVP across the 2018 season and the finals.

She’s hosted the interview series for her 223,000 followers where she talks to tomorrow’s stars in women’s basketball in hopes to “inspire the next generation of hoopers.” Guests have included Stanford-bound Cameron Brink (Oregon), Rutgers guard Diamond Johnson (Pennsylvania) and Oregon commit Te-Hina Paopao (California).

Van Lith capped her illustrious high school career by becoming the state’s all-time leading scorer with 2,994 points and led Cashmere to a 1A state runner-up finish.

She told Stewart her goals at the next level are to become the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA Draft (Stewart was No. 1 in 2016) and win a national championship at Lousville.

Statewide High School Sports Reporter at SBLive | andy@scorebooklive.com

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